By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, unveiled last month in London, will debut on Aug. 16 in U.S. stores nationwide as a Wi-Fi model said to “redefine tablets” because of its productivity and content-creation capabilities.
The Android 4.0 tablet, which features pen-based input and industry-first ability to display two apps simultaneously, is priced at $499 for the 16GB version and $549 for the 32GB versions both available in white or dark gray. Samsung executives declined to say when a cellular-equipped model will be available in the U.S.
Retailers offering the tablet include Best Buy, Amazon, hhgregg, Tiger Direct, Fry’s, CDW and BrandsMart.
The launch will be backed by an extensive digital-media and TV-ad campaign that explains Note’s “new way” of letting consumers consume and create content, be more productive, and learn, said Travis Merrill, marketing director for Galaxy products Samsung Electronics America.
Samsung Electronics takes the lead in marketing and selling Samsung Wi-Fi tablets, while Samsung Mobile takes the lead in selling and marketing cellular-equipped tablets.
An Android Jelly Bean OS upgrade will be available later this year.
During a launch event here, Samsung Electronics America president Tim Baxter said tablets in the past “have been mostly about content consumption,” but the Note 10.1 makes it “just as easy to create a work of art as enjoy it.”
The 10.1, like the Note 5.3 hybrid smartphone tablet with 5.3-inch screen, come with S Pen, an improved version of a stylus with more than 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity that lets users draw lines and letters with varied thicknesses for a “more authentic” result, Merrill said.
“For the first time, handwriting on a tablet actually makes sense,” he said. The device also features handwriting-to-text conversion.
The tablet’s side-by-side multitasking capability lets consumers increase productivity by displaying two apps simultaneously in split-screen mode, executives said. The feature, for example, lets users display an email on one side of the screen, display a slide presentation on the other side, and drag content from the email to the slide. Two screens also let users watch a movie and search the web for information about the movie without toggling between apps, he said.
Also for content creation and productivity, the tablet is preloaded with a version of Adobe PhotoShop customized for use with the S Pen.
Also with the S Pen, users can sketch drawings, write notes on documents and text books, and compose emails and text. An app called S Memo lets users compile pictures, screen shots, voice recordings, typed text, handwritten notes or drawings into a memo for sharing. A one-step screen-capture function lets users instantly capture parts of any screen to add to a document.
The tablet’s Shape Match and Formula Match apps correct and digitize geometric shapes and solve numeric formulas handwritten with the S Pen, and the S Note application is integrated with search engines so that content can be obtained and then dragged onto handwritten S Notes without switching between screens.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 also features the ability to download more than 200,000 textbooks from kindergarten to college level, and Adobe’s Photoshop Touch photo-editing application.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 also lets students take notes directly on an e-textbook.
Other features include 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 5-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash on back, front 1.9-megapixel camera, 1080p playback and recording, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 with AptX music codec, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi channel bonding, MHL-enabled video output, MicroSD slot supporting 64GB cards, 2GM RAM, and embedded-memory choices of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB.
The Note 10.1 includes some features available for the first time on the flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, including Smart Stay, which tracks the owner’s eye to ensure the screen is always on while being looked at, and Pop Up Play, which lets a video play anywhere on the screen while other tasks are being used. Other S III appearing in the Note 10.1 include All Share Group Cast, which enables sharing of video, photos or files via Wi-Fi to up to five other Wi-Fi devices at a time on the same network.
The 10.1 also carries over the S III’s DLNA-based AllShare technology, which simplifies the sharing of videos and photos with AllShare-enabled Samsung devices such as TVs, and AllShare Play, which is a Samsung web service that lets users automatically sync content via Wi-Fi and cellular among six devices, including a mix of Samsung mobile devices and client-equipped PCs.
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